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Samantha Rattner
January 18, 2024

Introducing Wine 9.0: Now Released with an Experimental Wayland Graphics Driver

Today marks the release of Wine 9.0, the newest edition of this open-source software that allows Windows applications and games to be run on Unix-like operating systems.

Some of the key features of Wine 9.0 are the experimental Wayland graphics driver. This comes with base window management, support for various monitors, high-DPI scaling, relative motion events, and support for Vulkan.

This initial implementation of the Wayland driver is not automatically enabled in Wine 9.0. To utilize it, it must be activated via the HKCUSoftwareWineDrivers registry key. This can be done by executing the wine reg.exe add HKCU\Software\Wine\Drivers /v Graphics /d x11,wayland command and then removing the DISPLAY environmental variable.

Notably, the Vulkan driver has been improved to support Vulkan 1.3.272 and subsequent versions. The PostScript driver has been redeveloped to operate from Windows-format spool files and to avoid any direct calls from the Unix side. Wine 9.0 now also offers a dark theme option for WinRT that can be activated in WineCfg.

Wine 9.0 expands support for more instructions to Direct3D 10 effects. Furthermore, it implements the Windows Media Video (WMV) decoder DirectX Media Object (DMO) and the DirectShow Audio Capture plus DirectShow MPEG‑1 Video Decoder filters. Additionally, it facilitates both video and system streams, as well as audio streams to the DirectShow MPEG‑1 Stream Splitter filter.

Notably, desktop integration sees upgrades in this release, enabling users to close the desktop window in full-screen desktop mode using the “Exit desktop” command in the Start menu. In addition to this, it also supports the export of URL/URI protocol associations as URL handlers to the Linux desktop.

In the domain of audio support, Wine 9.0 introduces several DirectMusic modules, DLS1 and DLS2 sound font loading, SF2 format compatibility for standard Linux MIDI sound fonts and Doppler shift support in DirectSound. It also comes equipped with the Indeo IV50 Video for Windows decoder and MIDI playback in dmsynth.

Among other noteworthy changes, Wine 9.0 brings loader support for ARM64X and ARM64EC modules, along with the ability to run existing Windows binaries on ARM64 systems and initial support for building Wine for the ARM64EC architecture.

There’s also a new 32-bit x86 emulation interface, a new WoW64 mode that supports running of 32-bit apps on recent macOS versions that don’t support 32-bit Unix processes, support for DirectInput action maps to improve compatibility with many old video games that map controller inputs to in-game actions, as well as Windows 10 as the default Windows version for new prefixes.

Last but not least, the kernel has been updated to support address space layout randomization (ASLR) for modern PE binaries, better memory allocation performance through the Low Fragmentation Heap (LFH) implementation, and support memory placeholders in the virtual memory allocator to allow apps to reserve virtual space.

Wine 9.0 also adds support for smart cards, adds support for Diffie-Hellman keys in BCrypt, implements the Negotiate security package, adds support for network interface change notifications, and fixes many bugs. For more details, check out the release notes.

Wine 9.0 is available for download right now from the official website.

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